CHICAGO (CBS)–The random shootings that gripped Rogers Park this past week have sparked the community to take action, with residents of the North Side neighborhood forming dog-walking groups and banding together on social media.

Rogers Park Alderman Joe Moore confirms 40 police detectives are working the case, trying to identify the masked and hooded gunman who took the lives of Douglass Watts, 73, and 24-year-old Eliyahu Moscowitz in separate shootings just days apart.

“These crimes lack any rational basis,” Moore said.

Chicago police say this man is a suspect in the fatal shooting of 73-year-old Douglass Watts on Sept. 30, 2018. Ballistics tests have linked the shooting to another homicide one day later, the slaying of 24-year-old Eliyahu Moscowitz. (Credit: Chicago Police)

As police work to find the shooter, residents are doing their best to live their lives as normal by banding together to feel safe.

“I’m still scared,” said Katie Shula, who lives near the shootings.

Widespread fears among the community are leading to people watching out for each other.

“We watch each other’s backs,” said Chris Morales. “We are there for each other.”

Another neighbor, Milton Rojas, said he started walking his dog with other dog owners in the neighborhood.

People have started texting each other about their locations and coordinating their walks.

“It’s essentially people walking around here in groups doing the dog thing,” Rojas said.

Shula said she was grateful to be outside on Monday.

“This is the first time,” she said.

Beyond walking her dog with neighbors, hula’s been amazed at how strangers are reaching out to each other in other ways.

“There are social media groups where people are offering to walk together to the train station,” Shula said.

Rogers Park resident Charles Morales said the newfound closeness of the community is helping people cope with the tragic loss of their neighbors and face the fear that has engulfed the neighborhood.

“We are not afraid to reach out to someone we don’t know,” Morales said. “We may not have all met each other yet, but we are a part of a family.”

Police are hosting the latest in a series of community meetings held since the shooting tonight at 7 p.m.

Vince Gerasole